Why We Believe in an Educational Mindset

Bookshelves full of books cover a long wall, fading off into the background.

When I started my business, one thing I underestimated was how much time I’d spend teaching. 🤓 I’ve always really loved learning new skills and picking up information about the things I’m interested in. At my core, I’m an optimizer, and I like finding ways to improve, for myself and my team as well as our clients.

Valerian offers website services, but I think we also offer a lot of education. My tendency to constantly research new and better ways to do things not only helps our team, it also gives me opportunities to pass some of that knowledge on to our clients. They can benefit and maybe even pass it on to their teams or other connections.

Why an educational mindset helps businesses

I actually think this kind of mindset is a great asset for any business. No matter what industry you operate in, your customers and clients will probably respond well to being treated like they can understand what you’re offering and why.

Think about the last time you had to call a repairperson for your plumbing or appliances: did they treat you like you’re clueless or did they take the time to explain what was wrong and how they were fixing it? 🔧 Which experience do you like better?

Just because someone can’t fix something themselves or finish a project on their own doesn’t mean they are incompetent. We all have our areas of expertise, and knowing when to call in the expert is a skill. But I think wanting to learn is a part of being human. So businesses can only benefit from taking the time to throw a little education in with their services. 🎓

What does an educational mindset look like at Valerian?

I think this educational tendency of mine has shaped the ethos of Valerian, as well as the way our team operates: we honor our clients’ ability and willingness to learn new things, while balancing the fact that they are paying us for a reason. 😅 I know the folks who work with us are smart and capable, and so I want to treat them like they’re able to hear new concepts and understand them. But I also stay mindful that, if they wanted to, they could put a lot of time and effort into learning all these things on their own to do it themselves. But they haven’t because they’ve weighed their priorities and decided it’s better to hire an expert.

We love being those experts for our clients, but that doesn’t mean that we have to hide everything we do behind a curtain. Instead, I like to make sure that we keep an educational mindset and work with our clients to teach them more than they knew at the outset while still saving them time and money being the experts who just get it done.

Emphasis on the why

If you’ve ever worked with us, you know that we almost always spend time going over the reasons why we’re doing what we’re doing in a given project. We’re strategic about our approach to building websites and helping our clients, so we like to let them in on that strategy. Every business has its trade secrets, but the reasons we do the things we do will never be part of ours.

Still, it’s not possible to explain every little detail of every step of the process. One of the best moments in a project is when we’ve made a calculated choice and the client pushes back but allows us space to explain our reasoning.

On a recent project, copywriter Amy noticed how open a client was in the feedback process. Despite flagging some bits of copy and requesting changes, the client had space for Amy to explain why she did things the way she did. And almost every time, the client said, “Never mind! Leave it the way you had it.” In a few places, it just came down to preference, and the client’s edits went through.

It’s this kind of back-and-forth that makes the educational mindset worth it! Our team spends a lot of time learning about how to do their jobs to the best of their ability, so we love when we’re allowed to show clients something new and change their minds.

DIYers gonna DIY

A lot of our website projects come from folks who have spent a lot of time (and money and effort) trying to DIY their own website. Then they learn enough to know that they want to hire an expert. But at their core, they’re still DIYers. It’s not that they can’t do it themselves; it’s often just the fact that they have better things to do with their time than to learn how to build websites for a single project.

This is the reason why we have The Greenhouse, with all our courses, guides, and blog posts. If our clients want to be able to edit their web pages themselves, we want them to have the resources to do it well! If they want to try their hand at writing content for their website, we want them to know the best way to go about it! 

When the situation calls for it, we also do custom training for our clients. If they want to handle some aspect of their website in-house, we want them to know what’s in place and how to make the best use of the tools and plugins we’ve used to build their site. We also know that best practices can be varied and hard to pin down, especially when you’re just doing a Google search and hoping for the best. Our training can summarize the current best practices and give you easy tips on how to carry them out.

Always learning and growing

To be able to offer education to others, our team has to keep up with our own. I’ve tried to build a working environment that encourages taking the time to do things right, even when that means taking a step back to go learn more. 🚧

We work with a variety of clients across a large range of industries, so we don’t always know how to approach a new situation or problem effectively. I am always happy to give my team some time to look around and learn before they start on their part of a new project.

We also regularly join classes and educational opportunities that help us better leverage tools and workflows for the benefit of our clients. If you’re a client, you’ve probably benefited from what we’ve learned in these opportunities, even if you had no idea. We may have even taught you something that we had recently learned ourselves!

🌿

If you’re looking to learn more about some aspect of your website, let me know in the comments below! I can probably point you to the right article or resource in The Greenhouse.

And if you’re a client and you’re wondering about a consultation or custom training, submit a request and we can get you on the calendar with the right team members to help you level up your DIY ability.

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